By Lacy Wolff
When most people hear the word “diet,” they think of calorie restrictions, hunger, flavorless foods that taste like cardboard and often the removal or restriction of macronutrients (fat, carbs or protein). Most people think of a “diet” as an eating plan they must follow for a period of time in order to reach a specific goal.
A “diet” is what you eat on a daily basis. That’s it! Your diet is simply what you eat. So, rather than temporarily restricting the quantity and types of foods you eat (which results in weight regain 95% of the time
, anyway), build your eating competence instead.
Having eating competence means you:
- have a positive attitude about eating and about food;
- are willing to try an ever-increasing variety of available food;
- eat only when you’re hungry and eat foods that will give you lasting satisfaction and
- understand nutrition and what should be included in the meals you make for yourself and/or your family.
To truly be healthy, you must create sustainable habits so you eat in a way that supports good health. Building those habits can be challenging, but it can be done!
Five ways to build your eating competence
Here are some strategies you can use to build your eating competence and make changes in your diet that can dramatically improve your health:
If you are ready to improve your health and would like to learn more strategies to improve your eating competency, check out the wellness benefits your health plan offers:
- Make half of everything you eat plants. The more variety the better.
- Make your breakfast and lunch on most workdays—no more daily runs to the fast—food joint!
- Eat your lunch away from your computer.
- Chew your food slowly. Remember you taste food in your mouth. Don’t be in a rush to get it to the stomach!
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you will find fresh foods that will spoil over time. Processed foods found in the middle of the store will have a longer shelf life, but are higher in sodium, sugar, hydrogenated fats and simple carbohydrates. All of these can diminish health and energy levels.
Lacy Wolff is the health promotion administrator for the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP).